Coláiste Phobail's new school has been sanctioned despite delays in departmental letter - Kelly

Alan Kelly

Labour Leader Deputy Alan Kelly

A body of work still remains to be done says Lowry

The Tipperary Education and Training Board has not yet received official confirmation of approval from the Department of Education for the new Colaiste Phobail in Roscrea which was announced last week.

In a statement to this weeks Tipperary Star, the ETB said that it “continues to work to achieve the sanction for the new school and we acknowledge the ongoing support and hard work of everyone who has been involved in this project over many years.”
And, Deputy Alan Kelly who made the announcement last week has added that the letter simply has to be issued by the department, with officials already having informed ETB members and school management of the details of the announcement.

“”I am delighted that the ETB received this news last week that we will be getting a whole new school for Roscrea. They have informed the school management, staff and parents and as I stated last week, this is very welcome news for Roscrea and the hinterland,” Deputy Kelly told the Tipperary Star this week.

Independent Councillor Shane Lee, a past pupil and member of the Board of Coláiste Phobail also welcomed the news last week.

“‘Colaiste Phobal has earned the reputation of being a centre of educational excellence and this news will ensure that generations to come can avail of secondary education in a building that meets all their requirements’ he said adding that the new school will be built on the existing site and will cater for 800 students. The building also provides for four ASD classes to meet the needs of more than 20 additional students. One of the existing buildings will cater for Adult Education classes, allowing them a designated learning facility on the campus.

“The Board of Management at the school, along with the Principal Michael O’Connor, have worked long and hard to bring this plan to fruition. I am delighted and proud to have been involved in the delivery of this new building for the town,” Cllr. Lee said.

However, Independent Deputy Michael Lowry said the Department is still currently finalising the project brief for the proposed school building project for Coláiste Phobai.

Deputy Michael Lowry

‘A body of work remains to be done before this project is sanctioned. This is the current, factual and accurate position coming directly in writing to me from the Department. It is unhelpful for others to have misrepresented the Department,” says Deputy Lowry.

The Department states in its letter: ‘This brief will incorporate the outcome of the site visit undertaken at the school on issues such as site, traffic management and building fabric. The remaining sections of the project brief outlines issues that an appointed Design Team must consider and address and also outlines proposed solutions to issues identified as well as identifying additional accommodation necessary to meet the long-term projected enrolments for the school.

‘In the case of Coláiste Phobail, there were a number of complicating factors (mix of PLC and Second Level Students, various accommodation blocks in different condition) and as the school is the only post-primary school (free sector) in the Roscrea School, Planning area has involved greater engagement with the school management authority to agree a long-term projected enrolment for mainstream and special needs pupils.

‘The long term projected enrolment has now been agreed with the school patron, Tipperary ETB. It is intended that the ETB will deliver the project when approved by the Department. The Department will continue to engage with the school authority with the aim of progressing the project into the architectural planning process as soon as possible.’

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